A Family Miracle of Forgiveness & Healing

How Jesus saved our Marriage…twice!

From Domestic Violence to Saved By Grace

Ok…where do I start?! I guess we should just start at the beginning! This is our story of how Jesus saved our marriage…twice!

Firstly, I want to inform you that this is going to be a looooong story and it will also be very heavy – there may be some things in this story that could trigger something for you so please be sure to take care of yourself if that does happen.

***WARNING***

I would like to list some of the topics that I will be sharing in this story, so you aren’t caught off guard. I do not want to be responsible for triggering something for you because of your own trauma, so I ask you to stop and think for a minute and be certain that you will be okay to read our story.

  • Domestic Violence/Family Violence
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Sex addiction
  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Miscarriage
  • Betrayal
  • Heartbreak
  • Bitterness
  • Resentment
  • Hatred
  • Anger/Rage

Even though I have been on a major healing journey with my trauma, from my relationship with Raymond, I still get triggered with certain situations and things. It is not easy for me to write this because I have to kind of relive it again as I tell you.

I have 3 main reasons why I want to share our story…

  1. To show the Grace, Power, Forgiveness and Amazing Redemptive Love of God.
  2. To help other women who may be going through, or who have experienced, something similar.
  3. And to show exactly how God changed me and my husband.

My favourite parts of our miracle are…

  • Forgiveness
  • Healing
  • Grace
  • Peace
  • Love
  • Joy

So, let’s do this!

When we met…

Raymond and I met in August of 2009. We met at our local pub; I was drunk and he was high on ecstasy. During this time in both of our lives, there was drugs and alcohol – I used to smoke meth, take ecstasy and drink alcohol and Raymond used to drink and take ecstasy. It was honestly love at first sight and I thought to myself, “I’m gonna marry this one! He is the one!”. 

I don’t know what it was but there was just something in my heart that felt so full when I laid my eyes on him, fist pumping and all! LOL A whole bunch of us went back to my flat to carry on the party once the pub closed and later that night, ended up sleeping together. (I also had a pretty bad sex addiction at that time – Wow. That’s hard to write!) 

Sleeping with someone you meet on the first night was the social norm so we had no reservations about it….it wasn’t like it was our first rodeo! So, our first night was about drinking, drugs and sex. Let me tell you, a relationship built on that is definitely not going to go in the right direction. 

After seeing each other for a few months and talking about our futures, we began talking about kids. I had always wanted kids and so did Raymond but he was told he couldn’t have kids (he had tried for 4 years with his ex), this crushed me because I had always wanted a family of my own. 

About a month after this discussion, we found out I was pregnant! I was ecstatic! Raymond? He had doubts. That did a lot of damage to me! But my history of sex addiction and his history of infertility was reason enough to doubt. At this time we had started smoking dope together again (after both being off it for some time) but once I found out I was pregnant I quit everything – ecstasy, drinking, dope and cigarettes. I had already quit meth because Raymond has asked me to when we first got together.

Eight weeks into the pregnancy, I started bleeding and we lost the baby. I was shattered. Raymond didn’t really know how to handle it. After that, things started to take a turn for the worst…our times of drinking turned into anger and fighting, we blamed each other for the miscarriage and then 2 months later, we got pregnant again.

Pain and heartache was exhausting.

Pregnant with our first born, Shayla. In the beginning, it was a beautiful pregnancy and Raymond was the doting father I had hoped for but that soon changed too. You see, I had stopped drinking and partying but he wasn’t ready to do that – he wanted to continue getting plastered with the boys. 

At first, I was ok with him going out every now and then but after a while it got exhausting. He would say he was going out for a couple of hours and I wouldn’t see him for a couple of days; I couldn’t get in contact with him and I would get so angry! Once he did come home, he would act like a little mouse and be all apologetic and I would forgive him…unless he was drunk! That was a different story.

Domestic Violence and how it began…

One night he was supposed to go out for a couple of hours and then at 3am (after waiting up all night) I heard a knock at the door. I was fuming. I went crazy! And at first, he was sorry and all apologetic but then something snapped…the look in his eyes changed and he rushed at me, put his hands around my throat and slammed me up against the wall! I was around 6 months pregnant. 

Terrified. 

Scared. 

In shock. 

Tears streamed down my face. 

“See what you made me do!!”, he shouted! My ignorance slapped me in the face – before I was in this situation, I remember saying “If a man ever put their hands on me, I would be gone!” I will never forget how I felt that night!

This went on a few more times but then one night something snapped in me, the look in my eyes changed and I told myself, “Don’t be scared! Fight back!”. So I did. And that is when all hell broke loose! By this time, I had given birth to Shayla, pictured below, (October, 2010) and life was good for a while, until I started drinking. 

Baby Shayla

Our partying nights together turned into violent rages, name-calling, hitting, pushing, slapping, punching. And that was both of us! And then the next day, I would be crying and apologetic, he would apologise and life would go on as normal. We smoked dope every day and that also caused arguments – where we would get it from, borrowing money from family and friends, scheming, arguing about who would smoke the last one! 

Ugh. 

It’s exhausting just thinking about what we used to get through on a daily basis because of our marijuana habit! We were always chasing it. And if we didn’t have it, we were horrible people. Moody, angry, vicious, hateful. Then we would get some and be all happy, laughing, chill and in love. Such a vicious cycle! Amongst all of this, we became pregnant with another baby…RJ, our first born Son.

We both lacked boundaries..

This was by far the worst stage of our relationship. During this pregnancy, Raymond was going out and drinking a lot and becoming more and more violent and angry. I was often left alone at home with Shayla and it was exhausting. 

Now, don’t get me wrong we had some awesome times and we were head over heels in love (obviously, otherwise we wouldn’t have stayed together!) but there were a lot of times where I kicked Raymond out and he went to his Mum’s to stay. I was trying to get through to him but he wasn’t in a place to hear it so it didn’t work. And I just kept asking him to come back, so I pretty much gave him the ok to keep treating me the way he did. 

That does not make it ok, AT ALL, but looking back in hindsight I can see that I lacked boundaries!! 

So, RJ was born in September 2011 and I suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and my mental health went spiralling downhill! And once again, as soon as I wasn’t pregnant anymore I started drinking and smoking dope again. I had an 11 month old, a newborn and a man who wanted to just party and go out with the boys. 

Newborn, RJ

I was exhausted. 

Mentally, emotionally and physically drained so I became bitter, resentful, angry and full of hate towards Raymond. One of our biggest fights ever was when I smashed a beer bottle over his head and cut him and he choked me out! Yep! You read that right! There were countless calls to the police and this had become our norm! 

It was so draining!

I eventually left him when RJ was 1 and a half and I said I wouldn’t take him back unless he changed completely….we went 2 months without seeing each other at all. I had finally found the strength not to contact him and not ask him to come home (like I always did) – I had let him go. 

There were so many happy times but the sadness and heartbreak was overpowering.

I was a mess though; I struggled with the kids and I eventually turned to my old ways – seeking love in all the wrong places. Raising two little ones on your own is so hard; I loved being a Mum but the depression of raising them on my own was too much.

We eventually decided to work things out and I honestly thought Raymond had changed but he hadn’t, and neither had I. There was still drinking, smoking, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment – a recipe for disaster! Well, in all this mess…we got pregnant again but we lost that baby too. Another reason to be mad at each other and blame each other. 

We could clearly see that things were out of control and we were trying so hard to change our lives but we just didn’t know how. We would quit dope and just drink or we would quit drinking and only smoke dope! That didn’t work obviously lol it was just substituting one for the other.

Then in February, 2014, we had a fight that changed everything! We were smoking dope again and had a fight over who would have the last one – so he couldn’t have it, I blew it off the book! Then Raymond attacked me and knocked me down to the ground, I got up screaming and swinging to hit him! Shayla and RJ (3 & 2 years old) witnessed the whole thing!!

3 Year Old, Shayla

2 Year Old, RJ

That was it. I was done…5 years of this, I told Raymond to leave. AGAIN! Can anyone guess what happened next?!! Wow. How did you know? He came back home a few days later but this time it was different…we were actually sitting down out the front of our house, having a cigarette, and discussing our future. Discussing where we wanted to go with our little family. I told him that I needed to go back to church..I knew that was what was going to save us and our little family.

Jesus was the only answer to our problems

I grew up in the church and had tried to go back to church quite a few times over the years but Raymond wasn’t interested and I wasn’t strong enough in my faith to go to church and live for Jesus while he drank and smoked. However, in 2014 that all changed. It was a miracle how God planted the seed in Raymond about going to church. 

For those few days that he was gone, he was at his Mum’s and one day he was watching the Crime Channel on Foxtel (Raymond is a massive fan of documentaries) and there was a story about Joyce Meyer’s head of security – he had attempted to murder his wife because he was having an affair! Amazingly, that story had Raymond thinking about church! Crazy, right?! So, when I mentioned church Raymond said he had been thinking about church too since hearing this story. 

I was blown away! 

That was on the Friday; I googled churches and 2 days later we went to church!! Now comes the amazing part – during that first sermon the Pastor preached on drinking, drugs, violence and anger! He even mentioned Tupac – a famous rapper that we both liked! It is mind-blowing how God uses other people to reach us. Raymond kept looking at me as if to ask, “Did you tell him about us before we came??!!” 

It was hilarious! 

And I just cried and cried during that whole sermon – I felt like I was home and a big weight had been lifted!

2014 was a big year for us!

We started to make a conscious effort to fix ourselves and keep our little family together.We both quit drinking, smoking marijuana and smoking cigarettes and tried our hardest to start living for Jesus! Things were slowly improving but unfortunately there was still some issues that Raymond was trying to work on. I was going through a lot with him but I stuck it out! On Easter Sunday we were both baptised and in October, we got married. We were truly blessed by our church family who helped make this happen for us! However, the baptism wasn’t special for Raymond at that time because he didn’t really understand the importance of it.

My Baptism
My Baptism
Shayla and RJ on our wedding day
Shayla and RJ on our Wedding Day
Our Wedding Day
Our Wedding Day

Our family was growing but there was still many issues to work on.

We soon found out we were pregnant and we were very excited because of our previous miscarriage. We were so thankful to God for the massive changes He was making in our family! We were both dealing with our anger issues but it was really hard to work through everything from the past. God had put some amazing people in our lives at the time and they were helping us on our new journey.

It was a tough road going from completely selfish, self-centred people to living for Jesus! 

Not easy at all!

My third pregnancy was also a rough one because Raymond was struggling with his own issues and unfortunately the kids are I caught the brunt of it. Ava was born in 2015 and this seemed to distract us for a while but unfortunately more heartache and pain was happening but at the same time, the Lord was also strengthening our relationship.

Ava’s birth was a very traumatic experience – I had to have an emergency C-Section due to her being breech. This seemed to help Raymond a little because I think it scared him and he began to be a little more caring and supportive but it didn’t last for long.

We had many good times (obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed for so long) and things seemed to be getting better but it was only a matter of time before I would get to my final breaking point!!

It was time to leave, once and for all.

It was a rollercoaster of a ride and a lot had happened between 2014 and 2017.

In 2017, our fourth child, Jona, was born. Life had so many positives but unfortunately, Raymond’s behaviour only seemed to get worse and no matter how many counselling sessions we had, or advice from godly elders and pastors, things just escalated. 

In 2018, (against the advice of our church elders, unfortunately) I asked Raymond to leave. But this time was different – this time it wasn’t just screaming at him in the heat of the moment to get out! 

I was desperate for him to stop mistreating me (and the kids) – you see, I was completely flourishing in my walk with the Lord and the devil didn’t like it at all! 

He focused in on Raymond and was trying to use him to destroy our family again! And unfortunately Raymond didn’t have enough discernment to recognise this! So, moved out and our church gave him a place to stay and were attempting to help him but he just wasn’t in the right place to be help – mentally, emotionally or spiritually.

2018 was by far my toughest year…

I was raising 4 kids on my own (due to his anger issues I didn’t think it was a good idea for the kids to be around him – that was a really hard decision to make!) and after being abused almost every time we saw him, I had to cut him off. It was hard but at the same time, it was a lot easier on us because I didn’t have the added stress of all the drama and I was blessed to have my big brother helping us all the time.

My main support system was my Mum and my big Brother.

I blocked his number, I stopped contacting him and I stayed away completely. 

I thought, the only way he can change is if I get out of the way and let God do it. 

I tried to help Raymond but because he saw me as the enemy, my well-meaning, caring, love and advice was just rejected. And looking back in hindsight, I can see exactly why it wouldn’t have helped. Soon enough, Raymond had gone back to smoking, drinking and living our old lifestyle. 

I was terrified that the old Raymond would reappear (the drunk, violent Raymond) so I had to move. I eventually decided to leave…I applied for a house in Murray Bridge through Community Housing (DV Housing) and was accepted within 2 days! 

God’s timing and miracle-working power in action again! Things were up and down with Raymond and I just moved on with my life. The kids and I started a whole new life in Murray Bridge (my hometown) and it was good to be back with close family. I was closer to my Mum, my brother and my extended family, which was exactly what the kids and I needed. 

JESUS SAVED OUR MARRIAGE!

And then IT HAPPENED!! 

The miracle that changed everything! In May of 2018, Raymond had his first trial weekend with the kids while I was away serving, on a Kairos Prison Ministry weekend. 

I was praying so hard! 

I was seeking God for a miracle! 

The Power of Fasting and Prayer 

Early that morning (on the Friday) during my prayer time, I felt God saying to fast. So, I began fasting…I met Raymond and dropped the kids off around 1pm – this was his make or break – he knew it, I knew and the 2 eldest kids knew it!! 

Things went smoothly in the drop off, which was really nice. Finally, a civilised exchange. As I drove to the place where our weekend retreat was, I prayed and prayed and prayed! 

I sang worship songs as loud as I could as my prayer and I prayed so hard for Raymond and the kids! Once I got to the weekend I began serving and doing what I had to do (not forgetting to pray for Raymond and the kids throughout the afternoon and evening). 

At every meal time, I asked God what He wanted me to do and I just kept hearing, “Fast”, so I continued to do so. (Now, I know the Bible says not to show when we are fasting or tell others what we are doing…but I am sharing this with only 1 purpose in mind – not to share the fact that I can fast and pray lol it is to show the mighty miracle-working POWER of the Lord!!!) 

That night I rang Raymond and things seemed to be going well…I prayed until I fell asleep.  

The next morning, God kept telling me to fast and during our morning tea (around 10am) I went up to my room and prayed extra hard…I picked up my Bible and as I opened it, God led me to Zephaniah Chapter One. 

This is what it said…

Judgment on the Whole Earth in the Day of the Lord

“I will sweep away everything
    from the face of the earth,”
declares the Lord.

“I will sweep away both man and beast;
    I will sweep away the birds in the sky
    and the fish in the sea—
    and the idols that cause the wicked to stumble.”

“When I destroy all mankind
    on the face of the earth,”
declares the Lord,

“I will stretch out my hand against Judah
    and against all who live in Jerusalem.
I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place,
    the very names of the idolatrous priests—

those who bow down on the roofs
    to worship the starry host,
those who bow down and swear by the Lord
    and who also swear by Molek,

those who turn back from following the Lord
    and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.”

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord,
    for the day of the Lord is near.
The Lord has prepared a sacrifice;
    he has consecrated those he has invited.

Praying for others is crucial

Now, let’s face it…how many of you have actually sat down and studied Zephaniah?? lol It isn’t a common book that is studied and to be honest, I had never read this book! 

When I read these verses…my heart got very heavy and I just sat on my bed, silent! 

I prayed the hardest I had ever prayed!! 

I was scared for Raymond. 

I didn’t want him to experience this on the day of Judgement! 

I wanted him to be right with God, I wanted him to turn back to God! 

These verses saddened me because I knew the life that God could give him, I knew the peace that God could give him and I truly wanted that for him – for his sake, for my sake and for the kids sake! 

A few hours later, I felt the urge to ring him and the kids – when they answered it was heartbreaking! 

The kids were crying and asking to come home.

Raymond was screaming and swearing in the background and RJ was shouting that he didn’t want to be there. 

It was messy! 

I panicked! 

I got scared! 

I said that I had to leave! 

Then someone led me to the Prayer Chapel and we prayed earnestly for me, Raymond and the kids. 

I sobbed. 

I was a mess! 

A few minutes later the phone rang. It was Raymond. He was in tears! 

In 10 years, I had only ever seen this man cry at funerals or if he was drunk – this society had produced a tough man who didn’t allow himself to feel his emotions! 

I cried. 

He cried. 

And I will never forget the words he said to me…I said, “I’m a mess, Raymond. I don’t know what to do!” And for the first time he admitted something to me, without any reservations.

He said, “I don’t know what to do, Kala! I need help! I want this to work!” 

That broke me! 

For the first time in 10 years, this mans walls came crashing down! (As I write this, I am crying because I can feel the joy in my heart all over again!) God had finally been able to break through and in the very moment – I mean, IMMEDIATELY!

My husband’s heart change from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh!! 

The veil was lifted! 

And those were two of my prayers that I had been praying since 2014 – that God could break through and soften his heart and that the veil would be lifted! 

Later that night…

I spoke to him on the phone and I felt God saying to me, “Now is the time to say it.” I had been holding off for so long to share my concerns for him and as soon as I got the go ahead from the Lord, I knew it was the right time. I said to him, 

“I feel God wants me to say this to you…You’ve gotta pick a path! Which way do you want to go?”

The victory!

And it was in that moment that Satan was no longer in control of my husband! And if it wasn’t for God working on my heart and teaching me the art of Forgiveness, I never would’ve been able to help Raymond through his struggles. I was, at one point, so angry, bitter and resentful towards him but God also took that from me!  

Since that night, Raymond and I started to get along and we were beginning to co-parent really well. The kids had both of their parents in their life on a regular basis and we were all really happy with how things were going. A couple of months went by and then one day, the spark started to come back – I saw a brand new Raymond, the Raymond that I had always longed for; one with compassion, empathy and a supportive, encouraging spirit. For the first time in over a decade, Raymond told me that I was a great Mum and that he was proud of me – I was blown away. After years of him putting me down, calling me horrible names, demeaning me and abusing me, he was finally able to say encouraging words to me – the best part though? I knew it came from deep down in his heart and that was something new to the both of us.

I had already began to forgive Raymond and heal from my own trauma but when he encouraged and supported me, it made it more than forgiveness – it was now beginning to be a story of healing and restoration for the both of us. God was working and I did not see it coming, AT ALL.

We started dating again haha that sounds so weird, husband and wife..dating LOL. We started spending time together and became best friends all over again but this time it was so different. It was a beautiful, strong, pure, spiritual connection that could only happen because of Christ.

Later that year, we made a commitment to honour Christ with our Marriage and we officially reconciled our relationship.

GOD IS SOVEREIGN AND ONLY HE CAN WORK A MIRACLE LIKE THIS!

There is healing in Forgiveness.

A major part of our story is Forgiveness. During our separation, the Lord led me on a major healing journey and a massive part of this was learning how to forgive Raymond and forgive myself. If God didn’t teach me how to forgive Raymond completely, his heart change wouldn’t have had any impact on me. It is a miracle that, even after everything this man has put me through, I was able to forgive him completely and move forward with him. That is not anything that I would be capable of, without Jesus!

We celebrated our Anniversary together in October, 2019

It was the beginning of a new life together

If you have a need in your marriage, I strongly urge you to fast and pray. And if you want me to pray for you, please contact me via email. I would be happy to fight for you in prayer. Please reach out to me or get some support from your local Church, friends, family or Professional Counsellours.

Love and Blessings,

-Kala Agius

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